Mar 23, 2016 11:55 PM
Yandle, Lundqvist lead Rangers over Bruins 5-2
The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) The New York Rangers had one of those games where almost everything went right: The passes, the goals, the officials' calls, the video replays and, of course, Henrik Lundqvist in goal.
It was par for the course for the Boston Bruins.
Keith Yandle set up two first-period power-play goals and Lundqvist made 39 saves in a 5-2 win on Wednesday night that sent the Bruins to a season-high fourth straight loss.
"It's a tight game and for a couple of games it was going against us," Lundqvist said. "The last two games we've been getting a couple of bounces, and you need it.
"When you get them, a lot of times you saw you earned them. When they go against us, you say you have bad luck. But it was a good game for us, a good test and this was exactly the type of response we needed."
Mats Zuccarello, Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, J.T. Miller and Rick Nash scored for New York, which won its second straight and inched a little closer to securing a spot in the playoffs with eight games left in the regular season.
Lee Stempniak, who had a first-period tally disallowed after an offside review and another shot gloved off the line by Lundqvist in the third period, scored for the Bruins along with Frank Vatrano. The Bruins have five goals in their skid.
The Bruins could not catch a break in this one, either with the replays or the officials. They gave the Rangers the first five man-power advantages, and New York converted on two of the first three in a game in which it was outshot 41-24.
"I said this morning we control our own destiny and right now we are giving teams below us some hope," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We have to turn this around quick."
Yandle was the key on the first two goals, making pinpoint passes to set up Zuccarello's 24th at 8:37 and Stepan's 17th a little more than three minutes later.
"It gets the group going," Yandle said of the power plays. "It's something that we know late in the season your specialty teams have to be good. Obviously, the power play got a couple of goals and the PK was huge as well. It's any way you can find ways to win. It's big now."
The turning point for Boston came between the goals. Stempniak seemly tied the game at 9:05, putting a rebound past Lundqvist.
The Rangers asked for a review and it showed Brad Marchand preceding the puck into the zone, nullifying the tally.
Fans entering the game at Madison Square Garden got a "Zucc Gnome" in a Rangers' giveaway, and the forward didn't disappointment them. He beat Tuukka Rask from low in the right circle after taking a great pass from Yandle with Jimmy Hayes off for slashing.
"I like him not only on the rush and on the power play but he does a real good job of breaking the puck out for us and helping us come out clean," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
"He's able to beat that first fore checker and make that pass where we can come out with speed. He's really playing hard and well for us right now."
Julien felt a deflection by Chris Kreider on the first power play hit the netting, but the officials didn't see it.
Stepan had an empty net to shoot at for a 2-0 lead after Yandle beat both Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron and found him alone at the right side of the net.
"He understands the importance of passing on the power play, and I think that's something that he is so good at," Stepan said of Yandle, who has a team-high 37 assists. "When he makes a pass it is right on the tape, and it's to a guy in a scoring area, and that's something that is not easy."
Brassard scored his 26th of the season at 5:26 of the second period with a slap shot into the top corner of the net against Jonas Gustavsson, who replaced Rask at the start of the second period.
Stempniak got his good goal at 9:34 of the second period on a 2-on-0 with Marchand, but Miller iced the game early in the third on a nice setup by Stepan.
Vatrano, who was called up from AHL Providence on Tuesday, scored with less than eight minutes to play. Nash added an empty-net goal with 2:53 left, his second in as many games.
NOTES: D Dan Girardi played in his 719th game with the Rangers, tying him with the late Andy Bathgate for 10th place on the franchise's all-time games played list. ... Rangers Tanner Glass and Bruins Matt Belesky had a quicky first-period fight: Advantage Glass. ... Yandle has points in seven straight games against Boston (eight assists). ... Stepan is the second Rangers player to record 40 points in each of his first six NHL seasons. Steve Vickers was the other. ... Shortly after Bruins captain Zdeno Chara took exception to being checked by J.T. Miller, he picked up four minutes for high sticking Rangers' Jesper Fast. ... Boston is 8-3-2 in its past 13 with the Rangers.